Forestry Sector Safety Significantly Improved in 2006

Date: 
January 16, 2007

Safety performance in BC’s forest industry was markedly better in 2006 over the previous year with the lowest number of sector fatalities ever recorded, says the BC Forest Safety Council. There were 12 fatalities last year compared to 43 fatalities in 2005. There was no faller deaths in 2006 compared to seven the year before.

The most dramatic year-over-year improvement was in harvesting -- manual tree falling and mechanical harvesting. There were two fatalities in 2006 compared to 19 in 2005 with 32 serious injuries compared to 43 in 2005

Log hauling recorded fewer fatalities last year with five deaths compared to eight in 2005. However, there was an increase in serious injuries with 20 last year over the previous year’s total of five.

“There has never been a year in the forest sector with so few fatalities in harvesting operations with two deaths and none in manual tree falling,” says BC Forest Safety Council CEO Tanner Elton. “The overall trends are very encouraging with a sober note on transportation.”

Elton says the number of serious injuries and fatalities in trucking and the operation and servicing of equipment is of concern and will be a focus for the coming year. “We are moving in the right direction but 12 fatalities are still unacceptable,” he says.

The BC Forest Safety Council believes last year’s results with the dramatic improvement year over year have been the result of the concerted and ongoing efforts of workers, companies along with agencies and organizations in the forest sector dedicated to make workers and worksites safer.

“We must now continue our efforts to make safety an over-riding priority and develop a culture of safety in our industry,” Elton says. “While these results are encouraging, we should not be satisfied until we reach our goal of no fatalities.”

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